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Map: How 35 Countries Compare on Child Poverty (the U.S. Is Ranked 34th)

World  (tags: 'CIVILLIBERTIES!', 'HUMANRIGHTS!', children, conflict, death, ethics, freedoms, politics, society, violence )

- 1607 days ago -
A new report by the United Nations Children's Fund, on the well-being of children in 35 developed nations, turned up some alarming statistics about child poverty. More than one in five American children fall below a relative poverty line-->

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Kit B (276)
Saturday December 28, 2013, 6:52 am

A new report by the United Nations Children's Fund, on the well-being of children in 35 developed nations, turned up some alarming statistics about child poverty. More than one in five American children fall below a relative poverty line, which UNICEF defines as living in a household that earns less than half of the national median. The United States ranks 34th of the 35 countries surveyed, above only Romania and below virtually all of Europe plus Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

The above map gives a comparative sense of the data. The blue countries have less than 10 percent of its children below UNICEF's relative poverty line, with the red countries approaching 25 percent. Southern European countries, among the most effected by the euro crisis, have some of the worst rates, although none as low as the United States. Former Soviet countries also score poorly. Northern European countries score the highest. English-speaking countries tend to fall somewhere in the middle.

The poor U.S. showing in this data may reflect growing income inequality. According to one metric of inequality, a statistical measurement called the gini coefficient, the U.S. economy is one of the most unequal in the developed world. This would explain why the United States, on child poverty, is ranked between Bulgaria and Romania, though Americans are on average six times richer than Bulgarians and Romanians.

Here, from the UNICEF report, is the chart of relative child poverty rates (the grey countries are marked separately because they could not provide data for all other indices and are thus not included in the final rankings):

To be clear, this data only reflects developed countries; it tells us nothing about how children in the United States or Europe compare to, for example, children in sub-Saharan Africa. But looking at how developed economies compare can help give us a rough approximation of how these countries are doing at child welfare. And UNICEF is using its own "poverty line" here; the more typical international definition is a family that lives on less than $1.25 or $2 per day. Almost no Americans qualify for this definition. Internally, the United States defines the poverty line as a family living on less than about $22,000 per year, which includes about 15 percent of Americans.

Still, UNICEF's data is important for measuring the share of children who are substantively poorer than their national average, which has important implications for the cost of food, housing, health care and other essentials. Its research shows that children are more likely to fall below this relative poverty line in the United States than in almost any other developed country.

But the picture looks even worse when you examine just how far below the relative poverty line these children tend to fall. The UNICEF report looks at something it calls the "child poverty gap," which measures how far the average poor child falls below the relative poverty line. It does this by measuring the gap between the relative poverty line and the average income of poor families.

Alarmingly, the United States also scores second-to-last on this measurement, with the average poor child living in a home that makes 36 percent less than the relative poverty line. Only Italy has a wider gap. Here's the chart for child poverty gaps:

We'll have more on the UNICEF report and what it means for the world's children later on, so please check back.

By: Max Fisher | The Washington Post |

Marianne R (95)
Saturday December 28, 2013, 7:23 am
Thanks, Kit. I'm not very proud of my country right now....

JL A (281)
Saturday December 28, 2013, 10:44 am
A metric all leaders in Congress and states should be ashamed of and pushing proposals that will address and change it to a better metric level in both short term and longterm

Michael A (28)
Saturday December 28, 2013, 11:38 am

Avril Lomas (0)
Saturday December 28, 2013, 11:45 am
The Greatest and Richest Country in the world!!??My My how are the mighty fallen!. Along with the pitiful rankings in education, stopping unemployment benefits, children,s lunches. (Our Humane and corrupt Repugs suggest that poor children should work for their lunches, sweep floors etc.!,) cutting back on food stamps etc.etc. They state that America cannot afford the above!. My opinion, America cannot afford a congress that works!!!. 126 days out of the year,yet gets full time salaries,and tax payer funded health care,plus a nice pension..that grants the Pentagon billions for "Toys".eg. Planes that cannot be flown and tanks that are too heavy to move across the ground!!.I could go on..That takes care of the 1% and ignores the rest of the population. calling them takers,.That grants loopholes to big companies and refuses to increase taxes on the aforementioned 1%.That listens to the "tea Party' nit wits That destroys the environment,slaughters wonderful wildlife, drills, fracks etc. The saddest part is that the American public is stupid enough to Vote for these turkeys again.,and again.
Wake Up America.( while there still is an America to be proud of.)

Barbara K (60)
Saturday December 28, 2013, 12:58 pm
How sad to see what some rotten politicians and their supporters have done to this once truly wonderful country. I hope we get smarter voters soon and bring our country back and into the 21st Century. I never thought that this could ever happen to us in my lifetime. All we can do is fight to save us all.

Joanne Dixon (38)
Saturday December 28, 2013, 1:17 pm
(Sigh) No surprise here for me. Only for anyone who hasn't been paying attention. I just wish that group didn't include 80% of Americans. Of course, if more were paying attention, we would never have gotten to this point, would we?

Birgit W (160)
Saturday December 28, 2013, 1:26 pm
What happened to the USA?

Kathleen R (138)
Saturday December 28, 2013, 1:34 pm
noted & read

Kamia T (89)
Saturday December 28, 2013, 1:42 pm
I sat down and did some computations, and am not sure this is as accurate as claimed. After all, if the definition of poverty is 50% of median income over the entire country, then we have to factor in median income in the six figures in areas along the coast. If I earn 50% of that income and live in the Midwest, my kids aren't impoverished, they're rolling in dough!

Maybe a better calculation would be the percentage of children having to live on public assistance? I'm sure the U.S. would still fall pretty high on that calculation, but in fairness, we're talking nearly 400 million people, so it takes a much bigger amount of time, energy and money to help with a percentage of that figure than when the total country population is less. We each can still take an interest in our neighbors and share what extra we have. It does make a difference.

Roger G (154)
Saturday December 28, 2013, 1:47 pm
so sad, noted, thanks

Mary Donnelly (47)
Saturday December 28, 2013, 2:43 pm
Thanks Kit. Here is inequality once again.

Lois Jordan (63)
Saturday December 28, 2013, 3:11 pm
Noted w/thanks for posting, Kit. Well, this is extremely shameful! Couldn't help get a picture in my mind of a "commercial" shown in other countries of American children living in homelessness and poverty.....with a request for a "donation" to help them. Yes, this is in my imagination today....but who knows about tomorrow? This is how empires die. The pieces are all falling into place. I'm dedicated to doing what I can to stop this fall into a dizzy, greedy spiral downward, though, as I hope all of us here are. The GOP has been playing "squeaky wheel" for such a long time, it's time for us all to step up and be "squeakier wheels."
It's pretty tough, though, since our Prez just signed the budget and defense bills passed by Congress that has excluded so much for those most in need.....while continuing to fund the military-corporate complex to the tune of unneeded, unnecessary billions. I am disgusted!

marie C (163)
Saturday December 28, 2013, 4:30 pm
USA still helps so many other countries like silly UK I truly believe we have to make ourselves strong before we start all of the handouts its time for UK to cut also and look after its own first
I do not think Obama has much choice on one hand everyone is complaining and then when he cuts the overseas bill everyone is still complaining. I am not American and I am not speaking of living in USA but sometimes I feel heads he loses tails he loses.
Defense bill well if he does not protect he's wrong and if he does he's wrong
Thank God I do not have his job
The world still looks up to USA why does everyone still want to live there???????
The world has a lot to be grateful to Americans for .
I apolagise if I upset anyone but I do love America even though I am an English Rose and perhaps showing ignorance as I have only ever holidayed there

Patsy Olive (0)
Saturday December 28, 2013, 5:55 pm
Marie,every thing you said is true. Why are we in these wars ? That is one thing I still don't understand.
when money is needed for this country and we are spending billions on wars we will never win. and losing so many of our young men.All these people, they have something to do in this, I will pray for these people.

Carmen S (611)
Saturday December 28, 2013, 6:01 pm
Thanks Kit.

Mitchell D (87)
Saturday December 28, 2013, 6:17 pm
Joanne, it's not that the 80% are not paying attention, it's that they are paying attention to the wrong things,, like "Duck Dynasty," the Kardashians, what bizarro outfits some twit will wear on the new TV season, and on,, and on. Indeed, this is very sad, and the Teapublicans will tell you just how much those kids are the cause of their own poverty.

Vallee R (280)
Saturday December 28, 2013, 8:21 pm
Too many split families -no one making enough - no wonder we have poverty here and yet we are better off than many, Sorry this is hitiing too close to home for me.

Lona G (80)
Saturday December 28, 2013, 8:24 pm
It is complicated yet simple. On average, America is a very rich country indeed. The GDP per capita is one of the highest in the world. At the same time America also has the highest gini index, which means that it has the highest income inequality in the world and this index only seems to be increasing.
When the top 2% (OK, let's be generous, 10%) posses most of the money in America, there must be millions and millions of people who live (far) below the poverty line. And many of these are children.
That is how such a rich country does so poorly where the lower classes are concerned. And things will only become worse when the Republicans are allowed to cut on social welfare, education or simply food for this growing group.

TomCat S (129)
Sunday December 29, 2013, 12:07 am
Thanks RepubliCorp!

Robert O (12)
Sunday December 29, 2013, 12:42 am
How positively dreadful and dismal for the U.S.
Thanks Kit.

. (0)
Sunday December 29, 2013, 9:33 am
Did they factor in populace or national wealth? This is after all a UN report and I'm always suspect of anything that comes out of the UN. That's not to say there aren't problems because there are. What's happening in America today is what's been happening in 3rd world countries since globalization and austerity economics took hold back in the 60s beginning in Indonesia. America is now experiencing what Uncle Milty wanted Reagan to do. Friedman never forgave Reagan for not turning America into Chile. This is what's happening now. Of course we aren't faced with a military junta yet but that could happen if things get worse and the public decides enough is enough.

Yvonne F (181)
Sunday December 29, 2013, 9:51 am
This is scary facts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks Kit for sharing this report!!!!

. (0)
Sunday December 29, 2013, 12:05 pm
I'll admit it, I'm not a stupid person, but, I simply do not hold to the ranking system used. Because American's have a higher level of living as opposed to those countries who are considered living below poverty,we are ranked below India, China ?
So, if our poverty level was 10,000 a year, we would have a higher raknking?

Kit B (276)
Sunday December 29, 2013, 12:08 pm

@Allan - read this again - A new report by the United Nations Children's Fund, on the well-being of children in 35 developed nations, turned up some alarming statistics about child poverty. More than one in five American children fall below a relative poverty line, which UNICEF defines as living in a household that earns less than half of the national median. The United States ranks 34th of the 35 countries surveyed, above only Romania and below virtually all of Europe plus Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

Theodore Shayne (56)
Sunday December 29, 2013, 12:22 pm

Jane H (139)
Sunday December 29, 2013, 2:35 pm
Shameful and unacceptable THIS MUST CHANGE!

DaleLovesOttawa O (198)
Sunday December 29, 2013, 8:55 pm
A very frightening and alarming situation that exists.

Even Canada still needs to clean up our own act.

Spammer flagged.

Jack Kelle (0)
Monday December 30, 2013, 4:43 pm
With Poverty Awareness Month approaching I thought I would share this infographic I recently finished working on with you guys in hopes that you may find it interesting or be able to make some use of it.

Chrissie H (23)
Tuesday December 31, 2013, 7:26 am
Noted and thanks for the information.

Tanya Selth (0)
Thursday January 2, 2014, 1:55 am
"The world still looks up to USA why does everyone still want to live there??????? The world has a lot to be grateful to Americans for .

I dont think this is true. I personally would hate to live in America and I know many other Australians feel that way too. I dont know what we have to look up to America for.

America starts more wars then any other country (and then other countries are dragged into it too) and has a lot of other things to go against it too. Anyway,.. I just wanted to point out that others in other countries may not be feeling as you think.

I wasnt at all surprised by this article which shows a great degree of unequality. This unfortunately leads to lower classes of people.

marie C (163)
Thursday January 2, 2014, 9:58 am
Tanya the whole world would be very different today without the help and loss of many American lives in the second world war . People have very short memories Its easy to go on and on about wars but so many maniacs around sadly talking does not work. God Bless America
The American people suffer because of their kindness like the silly UK
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